Jaisalmer Fort is regarded as the pride of Jaisalmer and is located at the heart of the city. It is also known as the Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort as this yellow sandstone fort sparkles like gold during sunsets. It was constructed by Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler, on the top of the Trikuta hill in the year 1156. Jaisalmer Fort houses many beautiful havelis or mansions, temples and residential complexes of the soldiers and traders. This fort is surrounded by a 30-feet-tall wall. It is a huge fort having 99 bastions. Presently, it is a residential place for a quarter of the population of the city.
The fort complex has numerous wells which serve as a regular source of water for its residents. The fort depicts ideal fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Like the other forts of Rajasthan, this fort also has different gateways like Akhai Pol, Hawa Pol, Suraj Pol and Ganesh Pol. Among all the gateways, the Akhai Pol or First Fort Gate is famous for its splendid architectural style. This gateway was built in the year 1156 and served as the entrance for the royal families and special visitors.
To reach this fort, visitors can hire an autorickshaw or rickshaw from the city of Jaisalmer. The visiting hours are from 9 am to 5 pm.
Bada Bagh is a huge park famous for royal cenotaphs or chattris built by various Bhatti rulers. The cenotaph of King Maharawal Jait Singh is the most ancient cenotaph amongst all. This place is located at a distance of 6 km from the Jaisalmer city. Apart from cenotaphs, tourists can also see the Jaitsar tank, the Jait Bandh Dam and a Govardhan Stambh inside the park. Solid blocks of stones were used in the construction of the both the dam and the tank. Tourists can reach this tourist hotspot by availing rickshaws and cabs from Jaisalmer city.
Desert Cultural Centre and Museum is located on the Gadsisar Road, close to the city of Jaisalmer. It was founded in the year 1997 and displays a huge collection of ethnic instruments, rare fossils, ancient scriptures, medieval coins and traditional artefacts. The conventional opium mixing box, Karal, is the most popular attraction of the museum. Tourists can also see a rare collection of textiles, handicrafts, utensils and manuscripts here. Autorickshaws and rickshaws are available from the city to the museum. The centre remains open for visitors from 10 am to 5 pm.
Mool Sagar is a popular tourist attraction located at a distance of 8 km from Jaisalmer. It lies on the road leading to the Sam Sand Dunes. Mool Sagar has a beautiful garden along with a tank and was built as a summer retreat for the royal families of Jaisalmer. Tourists can see a Shiva temple inside the garden. This shrine was built by using two large sandstone blocks. Maharawal Moolraj II constructed the Mool Sagar complex in the year 1815.
Travellers can also see several wells, a Raj Mahal and three Jain temples dedicated to all the Jain Tirthankaras inside the garden. The palace is decorated with various painting and attractive murals. Visitors can reach Mool Sagar by hiring an autorickshaw from Jaisalmer city.
Gadsisar Lake is an artificial waterbody constructed by King Maharwal Gadsi during the 14th century. This rainwater lake served as the prime water source during that period. There are various small temples situated on the banks of the lake. Tourists can see various migratory birds on the lake. These birds pause for a short halt on the lake on their way from the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary.
Travellers can also see the Gate of Tillon located close to the lake. This gateway arches across the road and is adorned with an idol of the Hindu deity Vishnu, installed in the year 1908.
Jain temples are located in the fort of Jaisalmer. These old temples were constructed between 12th and 15th century. These shrines are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras like Sambhav Dev and Rishabhdev. Tourists can see Dilwara-style paintings, beautiful animal and human figures on the walls of the temples.
Shantinath Temple is one of the seven prominent Jain temples in the country. It is located inside the Jaisalmer Fort and is dedicated to Shri Shantinath, a Jain Tirthankara. He is worshipped in the form of a majestically carved beautiful idol. This shrine is famous for its brilliant architectural style.
Rishabhadeva Temple is situated on the banks of Mool Sagar and is dedicated to Rishabh Dev, the first Jain Tirthankara. This shrine is famous for its beautiful Rajasthani architectural style. The construction of this shrine dates back to the 16th century. The carved facades of the temple add attraction to the overall view.
Chandraprabhu Temple is a Jain shrine located inside the Jaisalmer Fort. It was constructed in the year 1509. This temple is dedicated to the 8th Jain Tirthankara, Chandraprabhu, and it is one of the prominent seven Jain temples of the country. This red stone temple is famous for its Rajput architectural style. The intricate carvings, geometrical patterns and attractive facades add attraction to the overall view.
Shitalnath Temple is one of the seven temples situated inside the fort of Jaisalmer. This shrine was built in the 16th century in the Rajput architectural style. It is dedicated to Shitalnath, the 10th Jain Tirthankara. The statue of Shitalnath is the prime attraction of the temple which is made of 8 precious metals.
Tazia Tower is a five-storeyed building located close to the Badal Palace complex in the city of Jaisalmer. This monument was built by Muslim artisans and gifted to King Maharawal Berisal Singh. The architectural style of the building resembles a tazia, which basically refers to a wooden, bamboo or paper model, which originated in Karbala and is carried during the festival of Muharram.
Tazia Tower is famous for its beautiful designs, minarets and fusion style of architecture, combining elements of the Rajput and the Mughal styles. This monument is the replica of the mausoleum of Imams. Tourists can see a separate balcony on each floor which is different from the others in terms of design and architecture.
Kuldhara is a famous historical village located at a distance of 25 km from the city of Jaisalmer. This is a haunted village which tourists are allowed to visit only between sunrise and sunset. 200-years-old mud houses can be seen here. According to history, this village was inhibited by the Paliwal Brahmans for around 500 years. They were forced to quit this village by their cruel rulers. Therefore, people believe that this village was cursed by the Paliwal Brahmans.
Patwon Ki Haveli is located close to the Patwa Complex and is the first haveli of Jaisalmer. The entire complex consists of five havelis which were built by Guman Chand Patwa for his five sons in the year 1805. This yellow sandstone building took 50 years to be completed. At present, it houses the office of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Arts & Crafts Department.
Tourists can reach this monument by taking a rickshaw from the city of Jaisalmer.
Maharaja’s Palace is located in the complex of the Jaisalmer Fort. It is also known as the Jaisalmer Fort Palace Museum and Heritage Centre. This building has five storeys and is famous for its intricately carved windows and balconies. The left entrance of the palace is made of marble stone and is supposed to be the place where kings addressed their subjects.
Tourists can see the silver coronation throne, bed, dish, local stamps, banknotes and sculptures here. The panoramic view of the Jaisalmer city can be enjoyed from the rooftop of the palace. Early afternoon is the best time to visit this palace to avoid tourists rush. The palace remains open for visitors from 9 am to 6 pm during October to March and from 8 am to 6 pm during April to September.
Manak Chowk and Havelis are prominent tourist attractions located outside the Jaisalmer Fort. These havelis are decorated with beautiful art and craft works. Amongst all these havelis, Patwon Ki Haveli, Salim Singh Ki Haveli and Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli are the most famous monuments.
The whole area is also a marketplace and is known as Sadar Mandi. It is a renowned grain market which used to be flocked by traders from Iraq, Egypt, Persia and Arabia once upon a time. The Manak Chowk, located in the market area, is a popular shopping zone to buy decorative leather works, traditional silver jewellery, craft works and ancient artefacts. This is a rare marketplace where tourists can see for themselves the process of making of creative craft works by the local artisans.